Convoy celebrate championship success. Photo Geraldine Diver
Three first half goals proved to be real hammer blows for Pettigo in their quest for a first Donegal Junior Championship title since 1953.
Convoy’s stocky corner forward Ryan Carlin effectively broke the hearts of the South Donegal man with three clinically executed goals in the opening half.
And, while he showed splendid opportunism, the Pettigo defence was seriously at fault for the first goal that came after just four minutes.
The elegant Darren Johnston had got Pettigo off the mark with a cleverly converted point when soccer star Simon McGlynn blazed the ball just past the Pettigo post.
60 seconds later a high hanging ball deep in the Pettigo square dropped between keeper Adam McBarron, a Pettigo defender and the diminutive Carlin.
But the tiny striker somehow managed to beat his two larger opponents to the punch literally to put his side into the lead.
Undaunted, Noel Slane’s men hit back with points from Johnston and Michael O’Riordan.
But the winners struck for another killer goal in the 1th minute when cultured soccer star David Shovlin superbly set up clever Carlin who calmly lobbed the ball to the roof of the net.
Carlin’s clinical finish put the winner’s ahead by 2-1 to 0-3.
This was an initiative they never lost as Pettigo were always chasing the game thereafter.
And they were put under constant pressure by the wiles of McGlynn and David Shovlin who repeatedly exposed chinks in the loser’s full back-line.
Pettigo kept plugging away and narrowed the gap to 2-1 to 0-5 after 16 minutes.
But arch predator Carlin struck again to deadly effect.
And this time full-forward Peter Blake played a major role in what was effectively the clinching score of the match.
Carlin took a cross from Blake and cleverly flicked the ball to the net past keeper Adam McBarron to leave Convoy leading by 3-3 to 0-6.
Blake extended that lead with a quick following point and McGlynn was also on target.
Michael O’Riordan chipped in with another point as the winner’s led by 3-5 to 0-7 at the interval.
Pettigo badly needed a goal to make this into a contest, but the tempo of the game dropped dramatically in the second half.
Scores were relatively scarce and Convoy lost the legendary John A McMullan to a black card in the dying minutes, although this was by no means a malicious affair.
Pettigo put on a number of subs, but were not able to make any real impact on a Convoy side buoyed by the cushion of Carlin’s three first half goals.
The highly impressive McGlynn hit two long range frees as Pettigo replied through O’Riordan and Kevin Kane who battled bravely in the Pettigo defence.
This was a thoroughly deserved victory for a Convoy side that had a nice balance of youth and experience.
Carlin, McGlynn and Shovlin were most impressive up front while Conor Patton and John A McMullan were solid at midfield and defence.
Pettigo had a noteworthy half-forward line in Johnston, Paul Robinson and Ciaran McGee who looked like they could hurt Convoy.
But the occasion seemed to affect several of their players, as they have not won a Junior Championship since 1953.
However, they remain top of Division Five so there might be some silverware coming to South Donegal shortly.
As for Convoy, yesterday will go down as one their finest two hours and why not!
CONVOY: Sean Friel, Michael Patton, Shaun Browne, Kyle Harper; Oisin Porter, John A McMullan, Emmett McNulty; Conor Patton (0-1) Thomas McHugh; Gary Gillen, David Shovlin, Anthony Bogle (0-1); Ryan Carlin (3-1) Peter Blake (0-5f) Simon McGlynn (0-42f)
Subs; Gary McCullough for Gary Gillen, Damon O’Kane for Ryan Carlin, Andy McNamee for John A McMullan (b-card)
PETTIGO: Adam McBarron, Enda Baird, Sean O’Shea, Eoghan Cross; John Kane, Kevin Kane (0-1), Dylan McGrath; Patrick Carr, David Robinson; Daire Johnston (0-2) Paul Robinson (0-31f), Kieran McGee (0-2); Adrian Britton, Michael O’Riordan (0-4f) Sean McManus. ubs; Jarlath Leonard for Darren Johnston, Ciaran O’Shea for Aidy Britton, Pat Moss for Paddy Carr, Stephen Moss for David Robinson, John McElrone for John McManus, Marty Hilley for Eric Cross
REFEREE: Siobhan Coyle (Fanad Gaels)